The new Chair of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust has called for more recognition for the Sport for Development sector.
Writing in the charity’s new Impact Report for 2019/20, Ed Bracher says the “whole Sport for Development sector is massively undervalued in terms of the impact it has on society”.
The concept of using sport and physical activity as an intervention to generate positive social outcomes – such as reducing youth offending and unemployment, or increasing resilience and wellbeing in young people – has grown ever more popular in recent years.
As an example, more than 150 charities, governing bodies and funders have joined the Sport for Development Coalition this year alone, with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust a leading exponent of how sport is being used to improve and advance the lives of young people in disadvantaged communities.
Ed, who became Chair of the charity last November, said: “Through health, justice, employment and community cohesion, sport is often the catalyst for change, yet it receives less funding and recognition than representative government departments.” The Trust work with a network of 50 current and former athletes and Olympians who act as mentors to young people across the UK.
Ed said: “The athletes we use as mentors on our programmes are incredible in their ability to motivate and inspire young people to make meaningful changes in their lives and we will continue to promote the unique ability athletes have to transform young lives and we will also support the wider Sport for Development sector.”
He added: “The core of what the Trust continues to do is to unlock the confidence, self-esteem and resilience of young people facing disadvantage.”
The Trust’s new Impact Report covers the period from April 2019 to the end of March 2020, and describes how it worked with more than 750 young people aged between 11 and 25 across 85 different programmes in all four countries of the UK.
The Trust reports that across all of its activity, young people demonstrated a 7.5% increase in mental wellbeing after attending one of its programmes.
Ben Hilton, CEO of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, said: “I’m delighted to see the impact the Trust has had on the lives of young people over the last year.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see the increases in mental wellbeing across all programmes and the levels of physical activity rising in our Sport England-funded Get on Track programmes.
“We would like to thank the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support in allowing us to develop our Data & Impact processes and also produce this Impact Report.
“We know the next few years are going to be a huge challenge for young people in this country and along with our athletes, partners and funders we are ready to support vulnerable young people and help them to thrive.”